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Cameron talks Avatar

When I talked to James Cameron at Comic-Con (below), he admitted that he and producer Jon Landau know that they have a lot of heavy lifting to do before the 3D sci-fi epic Avatar hits screens on December 18. 24 minutes of footage played great at the Con, where Cameron announced that Fox will screen 15 minutes in IMAX on August 21 for free on 35 screens around the country. But the VFX-packed fantasy lacks major stars and is not based on anything (god forbid, it's an original), so the movie will need a major marketing push from Fox. Which is what the Con was all about.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 30, 2009 2:58 AM
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Comic-Con: Iron Man 2

The audience in Hall H was ramped up for Iron Man 2. They booed moderator Scott Mantz of Access Hollywood, who plowed on. (I had read some Tweets complaining about him earlier today.) Sure enough, he was flustered and not in tune with the Hall H crowd, which is fairly sophisticated.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 27, 2009 5:28 AM
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Comic-Con: Visionaries Jackson, Cameron Talk Future

By far the high point of the Con for me was EW editor Jeff Giles' interview with Peter Jackson and James Cameron. The two men respect each other enormously. Weta's achievement with The Lord of the Rings' Gollum convinced Cameron that he might be able to forge ahead with Avatar, which had been collecting dust for more than a decade.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 26, 2009 5:23 AM
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Comic-Con: Photo Gallery

Here's a taste of Comic-Con. And I haven't even visited the exhibition floor where all the action is. I'm still behind on posting all the material I'm collecting. Stay tuned.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 25, 2009 6:03 AM
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SDCC Interview: Cameron Talks Avatar

Here's my Comic-Con interview with James Cameron about how his undersea expeditions informed his return to moviemaking, Avatar. He digs into how he perfected the art of performance capture to allow the warmth of his actors to come through. He wants to do some consciousness-raising with SAG on what performance capture really involves. During Friday's panel with Cameron and Peter Jackson, the two men discussed how resistant actors have been to such acting as Andy Serkis as Gollum.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 25, 2009 5:45 AM
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Comic-Con: Routh Talks Superman, Pattinson, Dead of Night

Twilight star Rob Pattinson is handling his new fame with grace, according to Brandon Routh, who has endured his own E-ride through the vagaries of celebrity. “He’s getting much worse, more outrageous media attention than I did,” says Routh. “He was in something brand new. He’s handling it well. He’s seems to be a sensible guy. He’s not getting a big head.”
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 25, 2009 5:32 AM
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Comic-Con: Disney 3-D Panel Showcases Burton, Depp, Zemeckis, Tron Legacy

Thursday was a long day. The official Comic-Con movie program began in Hall H with Disney's 3-D panel. "A lot of you are going to stay here all day," said host Patton Oswalt. The 6000-strong crowd roared. Bob Zemeckis broke his Comic-Con cherry with footage from the start of Christmas Carol, which stars Jim Carrey in five roles. Instead of heavy make-up, it's the Zemeckis brand of motion capture (in 3D and IMAX 3D), which I find stilted. (People tell me that seeing Polar Express in IMAX was transformative.) The audience went "Ooooh" when they first put on their 3D glasses as Scrooge inspected Marley's dead body and was visited by his green, chained ghost. "It's a ghost story," Zemeckis said.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 24, 2009 3:12 AM
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Comic-Con: Cameron Wows with Avatar

Twentieth Century Fox co-chairman Tom Rothman came down to San Diego to intro James Cameron, who in turn presented 24 minutes of footage from Avatar. The studio has backed Cameron's R & D for the dozen years since Titanic. After earning credibility with the deep sea documentary world with a series of 3D docs, Cameron finally opted to chase the promise of advanced 3-D motion-capture with an original story that had been sitting in his drawer for 14 years. But no matter how fabulous this movie looks--and it wowed Hall H, the perfect target audience for a sci-fi adventure--Fox has to market this movie without major stars, branding and the kind of wide release a blockbuster usually commands. That's why they're showing 15 minutes of footage, free, on Avatar Day on August 21 on 35 IMAX theaters around the world.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 24, 2009 3:11 AM
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Comic-Con: Twilight: New Moon Press Conference

About 600 people camped overnight to get into the Twilight: New Moon panel, which started at 1:45 PM in Hall H. Some came from as far away as the Philippines. But first there was a press conference at the Biltmore Hilton adjacent to the gigantic blocks long convention enter, which at 9 Thursday morning was already a sea of jostling people.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 23, 2009 6:17 AM
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#SDCC Looks: Iron Man 2, Whiteout, Nightmare on Elm Street

As I head to San Diego for my umpteenth Comic-Con, I feel equal parts anticipation and dread. It's fun and I'll learn a lot that I want to know--but it's exhausting, large-crowd, insane circus fun.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • July 22, 2009 6:36 AM
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